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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Coffee break: Max Planck Institute red-faced after sponsoring "hot bodies" ad on journal cover

According to Clifford Coonan of the Independent (Beijing, 9 December 2008), the Max Planck Institute ended up carrying an ad for a Chinese brothel on the front cover of its journal: ,
There were red faces on the editorial board of one of Germany's top scientific institutions, the Max Planck Institute, after it ran the text of a handbill for a Macau strip club on the front page of its latest journal. Editors had hoped to find an elegant Chinese poem to grace the cover of a special issue, focusing on China, of the MaxPlanckForschung journal, but instead of poetry they ran a text effectively proclaiming "Hot Housewives in action!" on the front of the third-quarter edition. Their "enchanting and coquettish performance" was highly recommended.

The use of traditional Chinese characters and references to "the northern mainland" seem to indicate the text comes from Hong Kong or Macau, and it promises burlesque acts by pretty-as-jade housewives with hot bodies for the daytime visitor.
Apparently, the Institute's nerds were just trying to be multicultural and all that.

Well, some things are universal rather than multi-culti ... and the real message here is that what matters with language is its meaning, not its pretty-as-jade characters.

According to Coonan, the hastily substituted cover on the web features a book by a long-dead Jesuit priest. More the Institute's speed, I think, and rightly so.


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